Thursday, February 25, 2010


Yes, we have to pay the bill for the butchered dasboard! It is mid November and we make great progress. Today Franz is welding in a donor dashboard. He had to cover the hole that one of the former owners cut into the old dash. Now it looks like nothing has happend - well done, Franz!

Up and up

While we used just the front and rear part of the body lift for the first pictures of the "assembled" Sand Scorcher, we now have the completed steel frame available. Therefore we had to weld the four pieces of the Empi kit together. Because of the body lift the Beetle shell will sit around 7,5 centimeter (3 inches) higher than before.

Franz and Konrad are mounting the wings to the body, checking the clearance of the huge tires.

Now you get a first impression. It doesn't look as spectacular as we expected, after all everybody has seen a Baja Beetle before. But Walter believes in it: "That car will be different to every Baja you have seen so far!"

Role models in the spotlight

There is not much to see right now, therefore the Abenteuer Auto crew takes care of the role models. The 1:10 model really is Walters old Scorcher from back then.
However it is restored today, because the tough service on upper palatinate fields left it's marks on the car.

A matching 10:1 Acoms AP-227 radio remote control - 30 years ago recommended by Tamiya - will be build as well. Felix Landmesser takes care of it. He is the one who appears on the scene if everyone else said "we can't do it". Nothing is impossible for him. Here is a picture of the small reference he uses.


If you think we just ordered a Bug Eye Baja Kit and put it on, you are wrong! The available kits are from a horrible quality and the rear body part is completely different to the one on the Tamiya Sand Scorcher. What should we do? Locate original 70s kits on the internet.

On the pictures you can see the today available nose cone, but we deceided to use a 40 year old part from a vintage Baja kit. Same goes for the rear deck. We will also modify the shape of the wings, to be as close to the original car as possible. The front Baja bumper will be build from scratch, because the bought one doesn't match the one from the scale car.

We also decided to use a body lift to allow the planned rear tires enough space to rotate. A body lift is a steel frame, bolted inbetween the body and the chassis. That will be different to the Box Art, but it's the only way to tuck the Padla Trak hoops under the rear wings.

Hard to imagine

It's hard to imagine that this varied selection of parts is going to be a replica of the legendary Sand Scorcher. Walter has a confident smile on his face, but is this going to work? Anyways, Anja and her team filming as much as possible.

Meanwhile the BUG BOX crew takes care of the Trekker chassis. The floor pans have to go for two reasons: They are rotten and they are wider (same as on a Type 14 Ghia) as on a regular Beetle. In the following days the floor pans fitting the Beetle body will be welded in. And because a stripped chassis doesn't look to good, we added some jewellery in the form of 6 and 12x15" Chrome Spoke steel wheels complete with off-road tires.

Gaining ground

We are still missing the chassis. Coincidentally our buddy Ralf "Ralle" Winkler want's to get rid of his Trekker (or Thing, or VW 181, or what ever name it has) and suggests a barter business. Walter and Ralf struck a deal, because the Tekker is of good use for our project. It features special spindles, increasing the ground clearance by five centimeter (around two inches) compared to Beetle spindles. And up we want to go!

Up is the keyword, as we want to ask Tamiya Deutschlands leadership for permission regarding our Sand Scorcher. We want to make sure not to violate any rights by building the real car. Senior Marketing Manager Thomas Peter has nothing against it, but dubble checks with the headquarter in Japan. Shortly afterwards a phone call from the boss himself, Tamiya-san. He is very pleased with our project, furthermore, he was keen to have the full size Sand Scorcher on display at the international Toy Fair in N├╝rnberg, Germany, in 2010. The reason? Tamiya is celebrating the 30th anniversary with a re-release of the legendary Sand Scorcher buggy.

Of course we didn't say no. And we didn't say no when Anja Montag from the TV show Abenteuer Auto (on Kable 1) asked, if she could do a report on our Sand Scorcher.

Getting started

As there are different ways to build a Sand Scorcher, we decided to recreate the Beetle shown on the packaging (internationally known as Box Art). Everything was clear body-wise, we had to get a shell from a 1968 to 1970 Beetle. We found what we needed at the Bugnet website. It was a sad looking car body with molded on wings and butchered dashboard but otherwise quite solid and with a sliding steel sunroof - just like the reference.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BUG BOX Scorcher's Beginning

On a grey October day in 2009 the phone rings in the BUG BOX workshop in Weiden, Germany. Walter Jelinek, owner of the well known restoration shop, answers the phone. His friend Helge Ohmes is calling, telling him about his rediscovered love for scale cars, especially for R/C models. And about his dream owning a Tamiya Sand Scorcher one day.

Walter had exactely that Beetle when he was just 11 years old. The revolutionary model is a milestone in R/C car history, because it was the first - besides the sister model Rough Rider - with a completely sealed and water proof radio box. That means you could run it through dirt and water without really worrying about the radio system beeing affected.

Walter wanted that Beetle badly, but there was an obstacle between the dream and reality: the price tag. His savings didn't stretch far enough, but he conceived a plan. He sold his beloved Revell Jeep model and his roller skates to the boy next door to make his dream come true. In the following years the Sand Scorcher got used a lot, the body showed signs of wear, but he kept the suspension and rado box in good nick. And one thing came to his mind time and time again: "What would it be like to have a real size Sand Scorcher?"

After hanging up the phone Walter's mind is made up: He has to build a 1:1 Sand Scorcher!